You'll get a lot of good advice from gun owners on this site. I hope I'm not repeating a lot of what has already been posted. I only had a chance to skim the replies.
First of all you need to decide what you will be using this gun for. You don't have one tool in your toolbox. One gun can do a lot of jobs so so but it's probably going to really shine at it's intended purpose. Since you are only getting one gun right now you should think about what it's primary use is going to be. You can always add to your collection and specialize for target shooting, concealed carry, etc. at a later date.
Find the best gun for YOU. Many of us in the gun community have a bad habit of picking the gun that WE want instead of what's best for others. The guy giving you advice may be thinking more about his favorite wish list instead of your needs and limitations. We've all seen the beginner at the range with the wrong gun.
When asking the gun gurus for advice try to make sure they actually know what they are talking about. Not every local gun "Expert" actually knows guns. There are hunters that may know everything there is to know about deer rifles but have no knowledge of anything in the handgun field. You might know a veteran that is an expert on the weapons he used in the military but has very limited knowledge of current handguns on the market. I know a guy that swears by Berettas because that's what he used in the Army. He knows next to nothing about what's currently on the handgun market. He's a nice guy, safe and a decent shot. Unfortunately the answer to every handgun question is "Beretta."
Ask your advice giving "Guru" where he shoots, how much he shoots, what he shoots, etc. If you start getting the "I don't shoot much anymore" or his personal history lessons of past glory days then your expert is probably full of crap.
Ah yes....the gun store. Find a place with a decent selection. You probably won't be surpised to learn that a shop with 20 handguns behind the counter will have the perfect gun for you in that meager selection. BTW, gun store clerks have a bad habit of trying to talk you into their favorite purchase as well (or perhaps just a more expensive gun). Pick a time in which sales are slow to really browse.
Modern double action revolvers (those made in the last few decades) come with an internal Transfer Bar Safety. They are safe to carry fully loaded. You don't need to leave the chamber empty under the hammer. Of course one could say that you cannot trust this safety to work (although it works very well and is standard for revolvers today) but then again you could say the same thing about any safety for any handgun.
I will admit that there are some single action revolvers on the market today (Heritage?) that have manual safeties. I do not know if they also have transfer bar safeties.
Conventional wisdom on 1st handgun is often to go with a revolver, but personally I do not agree. A single-action semi-auto with exposed hammer is, for me, a lot safer option.
My problem with revolvers, especially double-action (which means almost all nowadays, except cowboy action guns), is that if it's loaded it's live. Sure, you can leave one chamber empty, but how are you going to be absolutely sure when you pick it up that the empty chamber is in the right position?
Double-action semi's are likewise suspect for a rookie. You pull the trigger, if there is a round in the chamber it goes "bang".
Single-action semi is less prone to accidental discharge as long as you can see that the hammer is not cocked back.
This may go against those who carry for quick deployment, but consider that newcomers probably shouldn't be doing that just yet anyway.
My favorite in this category is .45 cal 1911, but you can find many others in 9mm, .40 cal, etc...
Gotta agree with that. Here is Ohio it is illegal to deer hunt with a .45ACP handgun, but perfectly legal to hunt with a .357mag as long as the barrel is the correct length. Most be a logical reason for that, perhaps more stopping power?
have to disagree with you. 357 is a very good man stopper. 180gr slug at 1300 fps is a very potent remedy for anything under 300lbs. It has a lot more energy then a 45.
Quotes are out of linearity, but you'll get the point.
Just wondering What Weapon is going to fire that 180gr bullet at 1300fps from a .357magnum case? Must be a +P load or +P+
Maybe you'd get that velocity from a 8" S&W or a 10 or 14" Contender (also an S&W these days!), but sure wouldn't get it from a 4" or 2.5" barreled gun. Would also question the mentality of the Titanium frame owner who decided to use them...
Sierra's manual shows their 170gr bullets from a 6" Colt Trooper as generating 1100fps on a max load basis. Gonna really shoot loads at 180gr some 200fps faster? Maybe you get 1300 fps from a Marlin 1894 or TC encore but a handgun?
I like Silhouette fmj bullets with flat points, have Sierra in .44 and .357
If I was going to buy a rifle and handgun combo for lower-48 game, I would go with a .350 Rem Mag or a .35 Whelen and a heavy .357mag so they could share/interchange bullets for handloading. The .357 mag from a rifle will do up to 1400 fps with 170gr FROM A Rifle....
The bigger bore diameter the less dependent on velocity you are. Lots more capacity from a .44mag. Just load it with a 240gr cast bullet to 950fps and you lose all the recoil worries, and the power is plenty. If you can handle 1100fps, all the better. .45 Colt, aka Long Colt is just the same.
I would not shoot the load cited above except in a lever rifle.
Ah, noworries, what part of my post exactly do you disagree with?
I was only stating that a .357 mag. was legal to hunt deer with in Ohio whereas it is illegal to hunt deer with a .45 ACP. The reasoning being the .357 packs more wallop than the .45 ACP. As to the .357 mag sending a 180gr slug at 1300 fps, take that up with a ballistics expert, which, I'm not.
I am not a big 9mm fan but for you being your first gun I would absolutely start with a Glock 17 or 19, cant go wrong there. I also have a new love for CZs, they are really special guns and I just started getting in to them, may want to check one out.
I think the basics are one nice semi auto, a .22 rifle with a scope and a pump shotgun, if you can set yourself up with those 3 you will be in good shape, get a rifled barrel for the shotgun and it becomes a nice hunting rifle with a slug and use buckshot for bird hunting and home defense.
Smith and Wesson makes a very good Saturday Night Special. Use hollow points for self defense..(at the range use regular .38) Never leave it loaded. Keep ammo and gun in a small safe with coded access. You'll need a holster to store it. Nylon one is real good. I even bought the ankle holster for fun. Never used it. I do want speed loaders but every time they are out.
Point and shoot no jams.
Blue steel is the best.
This one is hammerless. Hammerless don't snag on back pockets when in your own home.
I can't believe these are $861 retail. I paid $300 in late 90's for my bodyguard model [mine is the one in the video].
S&W has a newer bodyguard with laser sights. :)
Matte Black finish. They got rid of the flush hammer. I don't know if I like double action only. The reason you can cock it is because something is going to happen. That first shot counts in home defense.
$861 dollars? Just kidding, $625. Thats the dealer price. These are nice guns to shoot at the range. I don't shoot mine anymore because ammo costs too much and I hate cleaning it.
if you cant hit the target no handgun or cal will compensate for it. so use the best ammo and shoot a lot. not just range shooting paper. but outdoors in what you feel you might need the weapon for, close in etc. a 22 auto pistol 'if you can afford both is always a good way to learn / practice with. even a BB gun works for aim. don't know if the military still dose it but they used to give guys a BB rifle if they never shot prior.
Love snubbies, thats been my go to daily carry for years, I just recently last week settled in on a glock 27 in .40 as my new daily carry but I never had any problems with my .38, its a classic and like you say point and shoot, it always performs for you.
Lots of good advice already posted, I just want to throw in my 2 cents for you Kruger_Man.
The first question to ask yourself is: what will be my purpose for this handgun? Am I using it for target shooting, hunting, or self-defense?
That will narrow down your gun options. Then you look at the guns still in consideration, and figure out what are the most important features TO YOU, not what features someone else may deem as important.
I just recently bought a handgun, it's not my first ever, but I didn't currently have one, so it's the only one I own. I too was seriously considering buying a Glock, and I would have had I not decided that I wanted a very concealable gun for self defense. So I ended up buying a Kahr CW9. I think it will prove to be the right gun for it's intended purpose, an easily concealable pistol in the 9mm caliber.
Now there are guys out there who would say well "7 or 8 rounds magazine capacity is not enough for me" or "I don't feel right paying $450 for a smaller sized gun". But a smaller sized gun was *the point* for me, 7 or 8 rounds should be sufficient for self-defense, and since I paid $450, I saved about $150 compared to buying a Glock.
So yeah, decide what YOU mainly want the gun to be used for, then go from there. There is no perfect first handgun. Just get what you want, get some shooting practice in, and be very careful. The main rule is never point the barrel in a direction that could shoot somebody, always treat a gun as if it were loaded. You will probably want to wear hearing and eye protection when you're practice shooting. Good luck man, and be safe!
As stated above, it is a good pocket pistol. It's there when you need it, and inconspicuous. I carried one for several years when I lived in Detroit. Put a cluster of rubber bands around the top of the handle, and use it to keep your pants up.
If you get a larger caliber, go with an automatic. Powerful revolvers can get jumpy in your hand, affecting accuracy when firing multiple rounds. For larger calibers, get an automatic; they absorb some of the recoil. I've got the classic 1911 .45, it can't be beat. The plastic glocks have their advantages, but again, the heavy metal of a good old .45 semi-auto feels softer and more stable. Not the best gun to carry in normal circumstances. My .45 actually saved my life once, I had it in my car and was able to deploy it to save myself and a few other people.
-20 guage pump shotgun for the home
The 20 guage option allows you to shoot at intruders without accidentally shooting through walls and such. 20 guauge will kill someone for sure, and it is easier to teach your woman to handle it- less recoil. The sound of racking it is a good discouragement for anyone trying to enter the home, come up stairs, etc.
-Military ammo compatible weapons for SHTF
If we're talking SHTF/public disorder weapons, I would prefer weapons which can fire military issue ammo. So we're talking about 9mm weapons, and rifles based on an AR-15 platform. That and a good 12 guage, with reloading in your basement.
So keep it simple-
-.38 hammerless for concealed carry
- 20 guage pump shotgun for home protection.
Two inexpensive and logical choices to begin with. Not the sexiest of guns, but a good foundation. Get a 12 guage and reloader next, and take up skeet shooting. Fabricate your ammo in your basement. Then invest in a quality 9mm semi-auto, then finally an AR-15 type of weapon.
Invest in range time. Practice, practice. Buy ammo regularly, like groceries.
My father taught me how to shoot skeet, and my uncle sam taught me how to use the 9mm and M-16. I've never owned a 9mm or AR-15 type weapon in civilian life, but I could pick them up tomorrow and know what to do with them. If I weren't living in Russia, I'd buy them. The other weapons are waiting for me in my best friend's gun safe back in Michigan.